With the experiment, the Real obtains its qualification at the end of a match of madness. Very close to the knockout, the people of Madrid were able to count on flashes from their stars to overcome a long dominating Chelsea, and a qualified time (2-3, 5-4 on the aggregate). The Blues won the return leg, propelled by a clear superiority in the middle and in the air, materialized by the goals of Mason Mount (15th), Antonio Rüdiger (51st) and Timo Werner (75th). Led 0-3, Real relied on a feat by Luka Modric, a magic passer on the goal of Rodrygo (80th). Little successful so far, Karim Benzema delivered Santiago-Bernabeu in overtime (96th). As a regular, Casa Blanca erases the defeat of last year and goes to the semi-finals.
Tuchel found the formula
Bernabéu, another eternal night: “As against PSG, it gives you goosebumps”
AN HOUR AGO
This is the story of a bet. Frankly dominated in the first leg, Thomas Tuchel spent his nerves correcting his organization. From a well-established 3-4-3, totem of the last European campaign, the German technician decided to surprise his world by establishing Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the middle. In a hybrid role, the Englishman considerably disrupted the opposing defensive line-up, while providing a numerical superiority to the Blues in the midfield, with the support of Mason Mount.
Mount, precisely, cooled a confident Santiago Bernabeu after the first ten minutes mastered by Real. Taking advantage of a favorable counter from Timo Werner, following a deflection from Loftus-Cheek, the English international tumbled into the Madrid area before winning his duel against Thibaut Courtois (15th). A first step towards the extension which inflated the Londoners of confidence. Not frightened by a half-volley from Karim Benzema (23rd), active in construction but little served in the last thirty meters, Chelsea displayed an unchallenged territorial domination. Without a spring, the Merengues tried in vain to launch the Vinicius rocket. But the Brazilian was much less successful than in the first leg, either beaten in the duel by Reece James, or guilty of a bad choice (17th).
Superior in the midfield, the Londoners also made their skill in the air speak. Visitors have understood this well, not hesitating to scratch a maximum of corners. Precisely, on one of them, Antonio Rüdiger brought Chelsea up to the White House with an overpowering header (0-2, 51st). As if awakened by the specter of an elimination, the people of Madrid took their heads out of the water and tried to return the blows (56th, 59th, 61st). A few minutes after a goal by Marcos Alonso refused for a hand control (64th), Benzema saw his unbalanced header die on the bar of Edouard Mendy (66th). On the lookout for the slightest breach, Chelsea achieved a highlight on a small number from Timo Werner, scorer after erasing Casemiro and David Alaba in the area (0-3, 75th). This time it’s validated by the VAR, and Bernabeu started to shake.
Modric and Benzema, two flashes in the night
Still heckled on a header by Kai Havertz (78th), unplayable in the air on Tuesday, the Merengues needed a feat or a miracle, or both at the same time. Magician Luka Modric performed with mad mastery. With an exterior of the right foot from another world, the 2018 Ballon d’Or placed the leather on the leg of Rodrygo, who only had to conclude closely (2-3, 80th). Suddenly, the Bernabeu’s erect hairs bristled with pleasure. Christian Pulisic had the opportunity to crucify the Madrid enclosure, but the American was too late (90th + 4) and saw the return of a heroic Dani Carvajal in central defense, after Nacho’s early exit.
The extension, obligatory passage, and space-time of the giants. Combative but too lonely in the offensive phase, Benzema offered himself a few extra carats by catapulting his head and Real to the semi-finals (2-3, 96th). Author of his 12th goal of the season on the stage of the kings of Europe, the Frenchman has once again endorsed the costume of savior. Despite the tactical blow operated by Tuchel, Chelsea stopped in the quarters, although the Blues had the opportunities to bury the locals. But it is not so easy to dismiss a regular at the top, qualified in the last four for the 15th time since the start of the new formula, including 10 of the last 12 editions. Not for nothing did the Merengues win thirteen, an undisputed record.
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